For many complex reasons, Outdoor Swimmers in England have faced opposition, prejudice and ridicule in recent decades (click here for more information). A typical example is found in the City of Leicester. Despite its rich swimming heritage, river and lake swimming holes across the City have fallen under a blanket ban by the City Council.
Most recently, local authorities have become fearful of litigation should they tolerate swimming on land under their control. Despite this Anglian Water, Sandwell Council and the National Trust have successfully permitted swimmers to return to the joys of open water without the imagined consequences.
In a landmark act of cooperation, the Outdoor Swimming Society, the Amateur Swimming Association and the Royal Life Saving Society have deliberated long and hard to produce an Access Guide in an effort to open up access to at least some of our lost swimming holes country wide. This is the first step on the road to liberation, with much more work to be done so that this document ends up in the right hands.
Perhaps you feel strongly about the lack of outdoor swimming opportunities available to you in the UK when compared to the rest of Europe. Do you feel strongly enough to contact your local councilor to express your discontent and to send a link to this document? This along with the efforts of the Outdoor Swimming Society members tasked with making this document available to the right people may see a return of swimming popularity in the UK.
For my part I certainly hope so and not just for my sake, but also for the health and well-being of the younger generation.